The Kansas Bar Association presents an information session on the rescission of The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at 2:00pm. KBA Vice President, Mira Mdivani will moderate a panel of attorneys and experts on immigration law through a webinar.
This program is for our members, the public, the business community, and the media. Please feel free to forward this information on to those in your community who may be interested or may benefit from this information.
Supreme Court of Texas Clears Way for Assistance from Out-of-state Lawyers
The Supreme Court of Texas entered an order to allow any attorney not licensed to practice in Texas, but licensed and in good standing in any other jurisdiction of the United States, to provide legal assistance to individuals and entities affected by Hurricane Harvey. This should help in the effort to recruit volunteer attorneys to address the need for legal services by the mounting number of flood victims. Lawyers may volunteer through programs supported by the State Bar of Texas and the Houston Bar Association. The Louisiana State Bar Association is currently monitoring the need for any mobilization of volunteers in that state and encourages Louisiana attorneys to support efforts in Texas. For a summary of information on national mobilization of legal relief efforts, visit the ABA Hurricane Harvey Relief resource page.
One of the best legal conferences in the country each year is the ABA Techshow! This conference brings lawyers, innovators, law practice management advisors, tech creators, and others in the industry together to discuss, brainstorm, and share ideas and information about how to build the practice of law. It is a great experience and, if you have the chance to go, I would highly suggest it!
Connect with over 2,000 leading technology purchasers and influencers at the best conference for bringing lawyers & technology together, and the trusted ABA source of information on legal tech products and services!
The KBA will be releasing the Conference Code which will allow you to save money on your registration fee as a KBA member. That will be released to you as soon as it is available to us! So, stay tuned!
If you want to learn more about last year's conference, check out photos and videos by following the hashtag #ABATECHSHOW2017
And, for this year, go ahead and mark your calendars for the dates: March 7-10, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago
This is a new venue for us, so it will be fun!
Hope to see you there! Stay tuned for more details....
INCREASING HAPPINESS AT A SMALL FIRM by Christine Bilbry at PRI (Florida Bar Association)
Large companies and law firms are usually well equipped with established systems to reward high performing employees and to assist an employee experiencing a personal crisis. But what is a small firm to do if the budget does not support ski slope retreats or comprehensive employee assistance programs? How can you make your employees feel valued when you have limited time and resources?
To move your employees from their current states to a place of engagement and positivity requires some effort on your part. Don’t assume that your employees know that you appreciate them. Employees need to be acknowledged and rewarded for a job well done. The most basic and immediate thing you can do right now (and I mean as soon as you finish reading this article) is to decide what behavior you want to see more of from your employees, walk out of your office and up to the employee who has most recently displayed that desired behavior, and tell them that you noticed them doing “x” and that you just wanted to take a moment to thank them for what they did. It can be anything. “I really appreciate your help with that project yesterday.” “Hey, thanks for unjamming the copier for everyone.” Keep a few $5 and $10 Starbucks gift cards in your desk for those occasions when an employee has gone above and beyond. To reinforce the good behavior, give positive feedback as soon as possible.
Why would you want to do this and what’s in it for you? Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work states, “We found that managers of companies, if they just increased their praise and recognition of one employee, once a day, for 21 business days in a row, what we find is that six months later those teams, as opposed to a control group, had a 31% higher level of productivity.” It should be noted that his research focused on recognition of an individual’s work. Being part of a team is great, but when a boss says, “Good job everyone,” it carries a lot less weight than acknowledging the specific actions of an individual employee.
There are many low and no-cost ways to increase employee engagement at your firm. If possible, implement a flexible work schedule for your staff. Respect your employees’ personal lives, which means no work calls or emails after hours. Encourage healthy lifestyles by providing nutritious snacks in the break room and consider having outdoor walking meetings to give people a break from the office while still being productive and enjoying some fresh air and sunlight. Everyone loves food. Throw a pizza party or have a barbecue in your parking lot on a Friday afternoon. Making your office a positive place to be benefits everyone. 1001 Ways to Reward Employees by Bob Nelson Ph.D. is a good resource to start you thinking about how to increase happiness at your own firm.
If there is generally low morale in your office, you may need to consider that you are setting the tone that has now spread to your staff. In the forward to the book, The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energyby Jon Gordon, Ken Blanchard shares an exercise he does at his seminars. He asks attendees to get up and “greet other people as if they are unimportant.” He then asks them to “continue to greet people, but this time, to do it as if the people they are greeting are long-lost friends they’re glad to see.” He describes how the volume and energy dramatically shift in the room during this activity and then he tells the attendees, “Every morning you have a choice. Are you going to be a positive thinker or a negative thinker?” This also applies to how you treat your employees. “You can catch people doing things right, or you can catch them doing things wrong. Guess which of those two activities energizes people more?”
Creating a happiness initiative at your office benefits you and everyone around you. It can alleviate stress and have a positive effect on mental health and resilience. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to employee happiness and engagement. Find what feels authentic to you because praise and recognition must be sincere to be effective. Even small changes and gestures from the boss can have dramatic results.
The problem of lawyers who won't quit isn't a new one. In fact, it's one of the first I encountered when I entered the legal industry. What is new is the that this problem's consequences are more difficult to deal with in today's marketplace.
My first law firm had three of its prime offices reserved for attorneys who rarely made appearances. The offices sat mostly dark, cluttered with old files and papers reminiscent of a busy practice and plenty of personal momentos accumulated over a noteworthy career. The supporting staff had long since been reassigned or retired. When year-end profits were distributed, checks were cut to these attorneys whose names I recognized from letterhead, but whom I had never or rarely met.
I started my management career in the corporate environment. I had never encountered this situation there and it made no sense to me. People who didn’t work weren’t still collecting paychecks. They didn’t have offices. They didn’t get a piece of the profits.
Back then, when an attorney became a law-firm owner, there was an expectation that it was a bestowment for life, ending only upon the voluntary withdrawal of the owner or the owner’s death or permanent disability. It was rare for someone to withdraw voluntarily.
Let’s face it: Lawyers are about being lawyers. For most, their entire identities are based first and foremost on being lawyers. That’s why, even with the best of intentions to step aside at some certain age, lawyers find themselves emotionally unable to pull the trigger when the time arrives. Because, upon retirement, there is no longer an answer to the existential question of “Who am I?”
Hobbies cannot fill the void. Many lawyers think that their hobbies will see them through. But if the hobbies are just pleasurable time-fillers, it becomes apparent that they’re just not enough. Plus, some hobbies are predicated on certain levels of continued health, and one may not be able to participate fully or at all when retirement arrives.
Activity that provides both meaning and purpose is required to create a satisfactory alternative to one’s former career — not just activity to fill the day and pass the time, but activity that provides a new sense of identity in doing something that is both of significance in the universe and that imparts a sense of personal satisfac- tion. For some, there must be a monetary reward to achieve satisfaction. For others, there must be a distinct lack of reward other than knowing one is giving back and doing important work. The bottom line is that it has to be activity that one can feel passionate about and take pride in, and one that creates a sense of worth and accomplishment.
It’s not surprising that for the majority of lawyers, planning for this “next step” is not something that takes priority in their busy lives. Only a rare few have a calling that they look forward to answering in some next phase of their life. Yes, some aspire to write, teach, volunteer, create a foundation, become entrepreneurs or travel the far reaches of the world. They’re the lucky few. For most, a lot of questioning and soul searching is required in order to identify the next step, let alone lay the groundwork to make the transition possible. And as a result, although there may be an occasional creative thought, it disappears quickly, like the morning mist under the glare of sunlight.
For a time, growing firms began proactively protecting themselves by incorporating such safeguards as mandatory retirement or de-equitization ages. Partnership agreements were amended to spell out clearly any options for continued employment at the firm past a certain age, as well as for voluntary withdrawal. These changes ensured that there was continued room at the top for younger lawyers to move up in status and earnings. They ensured that the next generation would have a reason to stay, thus ensuring the succession and perpetuation of the firm.
While these changes worked overall to deal with the challenge of lawyers who refused to retire despite being long past their prime, they sometimes became cases of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
Advancements in medicine and nutrition mean that a lot of lawyers are still capable of making positive contributions much later in life than anticipated when these agreements were amended. Seventy-five has become the new 65. Not for all law- yers, certainly, but for many. Some would say for most. We are seeing now that a lot of lawyers with many more good years to contribute are being forced out of their firms too soon. Many struggle to re-position themselves elsewhere, where they can continue to practice andcontribute.
While the implementation of mandatory retirement ages has been successful in creating room for succession, it has done nothing to assist departing lawyers with finding their new purpose. It has created a lot of angst for many. It has cast too many adrift.
I’m not a big fan of mandatory retirement. That’s because I’m the one who often gets the calls from the aged attorneys who are stunned by how lost they are. Yes, their fate was not a secret. Yes, there was plenty of advance notice. But when the time arrives, they find that the hobbies and small opportunities within the industry, which they thought would sustain them, are simply not enough. There is not sufficient purpose and meaning. All of a sudden their identity and self-worth collapse in an unsatisfying mess.Another less-common reason for refusal to retire is one of economics. Notice I didn’t use the word “simple” when referring to economics, because there’s nothing simple about it. For some, their significant retirement savings vanished during lengthy recessions. The flip side to living longer and maintaining vitality longer is that one’s desire to maintain an active lifestyle extends one’s need to earn a living, as well as to build a sufficient retirement nest egg. As my 93- year-old mother frequently says, “I have learned how to continue on while outliving all my friends and siblings. I will never learn how to outlive my savings.”
With increasing frequency, lawyers share with me that they cannot afford to retire due to personal financial circumstances. In some instances, one or more ex-spouses may have claimed a share of retirement savings in property settlements. In addition, we have seen an increase in what I lovingly call “do-overs.” Formation of new family units later in life creates a need for significant financial means to pay for second rounds of college, grad school, weddings, and so forth at a later age than previously experienced.
Within law firms there is now a dichotomy between what may be good business practice for the firm itself and what may be desirable or necessary for individual members. Because of the inherent conflict of interest for so many owners, firms often lack the ability to make necessary changes in the absence of a clear consensus.
Let’s look at a midsize urban firm that never anticipated these issues or modified its member agreement. An octogenarian partner is still occupying an office and making use of a part-time staff member. He is a current member of the bar, but his role is exclusively social.
On an objective basis, he has not produced revenue for the firm in many years. He continues to earn a disproportionate share of firm profits. No doubt he feels that this is his right for all of the sweat equity he invested in building the firm. In reality, he has probably long since been repaid in full.
The firm’s only mechanism to change this situation is to call for a vote to eject him. It will require a unanimous vote of all but the partner in question. Let’s be completely candid. If you were called upon to cast a vote, how good would you be at distancing your emotions from what was good for the firm? I suspect that you would be having a conversation with yourself: “What if I am next? What does this say about our gratitude and loyalty? If it were me, I wouldfeel horribly betrayed and humiliated!” The more collegial the firm, the more difficult it will be for each owner to cast his or her vote dispassionately in favor of the health and viability of thefirm.
So while the economic reality and well- being of the firm call for one decision, the likelihood is that just calling the vote will be a damaging and destructive — probably divisive — exercise for the firm. The managing partner in this firm, to his credit, did not call for a vote. But when he turned to me for other suggestions, my only one was that he try to cut a deal with the elder partner to retire voluntarily.
Deep down, I know that it is not a question of money that keeps the partner at the firm. Emotionally, he is just not capable of letting go of his identity. Unless the firm can replace his current role with one that provides sufficient purpose and meaning, no negotiation will be successful.
Yet another manifestation of the same problem presented itself to me recently. A retired attorney who was more than 90 years old sought my advice on starting a solo practice. His reasons were not related to any financial need. I spent a good deal of time exploring what was motivating this attorney to want to start a practice from scratch at his age. It took a while for him to get to his real motivation: He needed to do something that would earn him a greater amount of respect from his children upon his passing. Retiring from a long- standing career with reasonable economic comfort wasn’t enough. He needed to be engaged actively in what he considered important work. He needed to rebuild his identity. His biggest concern was that he achieve this goal without losing any of his nest egg. So we dealt with the economics, given his desire to work limited hours, that would allow him to achieve his goal.
I remember when firms reluctantly came to the realization that they were not responsible to look afterthe post-retirement financial well-being of their members.
That’s when firms starting putting in retirement savings plans, purchasing buy-sell insurance policies and making members aware that they were responsible for their own financial well-being upon retirement.
That’s all well and good but, in my opinion, the most important component in this process has been and is still being ignored. Who will help these aging attorneys build a vision for the next stage of their life?
How will they identify what will create sufficient meaning, purpose and passion to help them maintain a strong, albeit changed, identity?
My observation is that this kind of examination isn’t on the radar screen of most attorneys. Nor is law-firm management thinking about assisting attorneys in this area. I regret that I am so often in the position of informing law firms and individual lawyers that there is yet one more difficult task that they must undertake.
So what should be done? I don’t claim to have all of the answers. I hope that bar association senior lawyers sections give this some thought. Initial thoughts I have involve seeking counsel from life coaches or psychologists. It’s never too late or early to begin to address this eventual challenge. Spend quiet time alone and with family, friends and colleagues, trying to uncover where your passions lie. I’m convinced that there has to be passion on your part about whatever the next step involves.
At the firm level, management can encourage proactive thought and provide forums for discussion. Perhaps they can bring in a speaker or two who can talk about transitions and discovering how to navigate one’s individual path to a next phase that is meaningful and rewarding. Perhaps develop a recommended-reading list.
Every firm should think about what alternatives it can offer for attorneys approaching retirement and openly discuss the possibilities. If a lawyer is interested in developing a new path, then hammer out the details to make it a viable alternative. All or nothing should not be the only possibilities for a senior lawyer’s career.
I encourage bar members and firms wrestling with these issues to begin these discussions. As so many of us enjoy longer lives, let’s work to maximize our enjoyment and sense of satisfaction to the very end. ⚖
Safeguarding your business and personal data has never been more difficult or more important. How do you safeguard sensitive/confidential data? The manner of protection often depends on what kind of data you are safeguarding and how important or sensitive it is to you, your organization, or your customers.
Here are some tips on how to protect your data at work and at home.
Password-Protect Your Access Always use a strong password or pass-phrase to protect access to your data.
Identify Where the Data Is Stored Have specific places within your network or computer where you store sensitive/confidential data. Those network shares, hard drives, servers, or system folders can then have specific protection methods used to keep them more secure.
Encrypt Stored Sensitive/Confidential Data Whenever possible, encrypt stored sensitive/confidential data, whether it is being permanently or temporarily stored. This can help prevent unintended disclosure even if your system has been compromised.
Thank you to Florida Bar Association’s PRI for today’s Security Awareness Tip!
Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin,
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
ABA House urges changes affecting undocumented immigrants, among other policy decisions
NEW YORK, Aug. 15, 2017 --The American Bar Association House of Delegates, which determines association-wide policy, adopted policies over two days that urges Congress to add courthouses to the “sensitive locations” list for immigration enforcement and licensing groups to admit to the bar undocumented law school graduates under certain circumstances.
The action by the House — made up of 601 delegates from state, local and other bar associations and legal groups from across the country — met in New York on Aug. 14-15 at the close of the ABA Annual Meeting, which began Aug. 10.
Resolution 108, proposed by the ABA Law Student Division and embraced by the ABA Young Lawyers Division, recommends that state courts with authority to regulate admission to the bar admit undocumented law school graduates if they are “seeking legal status.” The resolution passed by voice vote with modest opposition.
Resolution 10C urges Congress to amend Section 287 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to expand and codify Department of Homeland Security guidelines regarding immigration enforcement. It would specifically add courthouses to the government’s “sensitive locations” list.
Under current U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy, a handful of locations, such as schools, healthcare facilities, places of worship and religious ceremonies, and public demonstrations, are off-limits to agents. Proponents of the resolution cited examples across the country where individuals avoided courthouses because of fears that ICE had been notified of their pending presence and their undocumented status. They argued that without designating courthouses as “sensitive locations,” the effect would be to chill participation of undocumented victims and defendants from the justice process as well as to deter other witnesses from testifying.
In one case cited, a domestic violence victim refused to testify when she learned that ICE agents were present and looking for her, and the defendant walked free.
In Resolution 10B, the House reaffirmed the ABA’s opposition of a half century to mandatory minimum sentences because it limits a judge’s flexibility to consider circumstances and has a disparate impact on African Americans, whom proponents say are more likely to be charged with offenses with sentences in this category.
The House considered resolutions in these areas over its two-day meeting:
· Juvenile justice: The House approved several resolutions related to the juvenile justice system. Drawing from the ABA Criminal Justice Standards, Resolution 112A seeks to address the predicament faced by juveniles caught in child welfare and criminal justice systems at the same time. Resolution 112C urges governments to adopt policies that favor release on recognizance, advocating that pre-trial detention should not be occur solely on the ability to pay; and Resolution 112E would prohibit the use of solitary confinement for those under 18 years old.
· Gun violence: Following the lead of several states, the House approved Resolution 118that urges governments to allow courts to issue gun violence restraining orders, including ex parte orders. Proponents called the resolution a “modest, common-sense reform” that would help families and others prevent suicides and other acts of violence through temporary restraining orders. Opponents raised First and Fourth Amendment issues as well as the one-sided nature of an ex parte proceeding. The resolution passed on a voice vote with modest opposition.
· Records expungement: Two different resolutions would affect those exonerated from a charge as well as those found guilty of minor offenses. Resolution 112F urges governments to allow individuals to petition to expunge all criminal records pertaining to charges of arrests that did not end in a conviction. Resolution 112G urges that convictions for minor violations for certain crimes related to homelessness be eligible to be expunged.
· Federal courts: In passing Resolution 104, the House reaffirmed its opposition to restructuring the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, one of 13 in the federal appellate system. Legislation has been proposed in Congress to split up the circuit, but there is strong opposition in the legal community. Speakers said the large majority of the 29 appellate judges on the court also oppose the split, as have bar groups in the western states and others.
· Gideon issues: Resolution 106 urges Congress to give the U.S. Department of Justice more powers to ensure compliance with the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Gideon v. Wainwright,which gave defendants in most criminal cases the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Proponents said the promise of Gideon has been broken as many defendants are provided counsel who prove ineffective. Resolution 115 supports the appointment of counsel at federal government expense to represent all indigent persons in immigration removal proceedings.
All resolutions and their disposition can be found on the ABA site. Only proposals adopted by the House constitute association policy.
With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statementonline. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.
Credentials or outcomes: What’s the fairest way to assess lawyer performance?
Posted Jul 13, 2017 8:00 AM CDT By Paul Lippe, Gregory Richter and Paul Williams
When we meet with law firm managing partners and senior partners, we often ask them how well they understand their metrics.
Do you understand your firm’s profits per partner? Yes.
Do you understand how many hours you and other partners have billed and what billing rates are? Yes.
Do you happen to remember your LSAT score and law school GPA? Why yes, as a matter of fact.
Do you know what the bonus calculation is for the general counsels of your five largest clients? No.
Every communication or interaction between a modern enterprise and its law firms reflects how the client measures performance, which is expressed in financial statements, and the goals and bonus plans for the CEO and the general counsel. In most companies, the board and human resources play a large role in assessing performance, and GCs are looking for ways to be more in sync with them. To not understand the general counsel’s metrics and bonus calculation is to operate with blinders.
In our first and second articles about performance, we discussed how metrics could help lawyers improve their performance and professional satisfaction. In today’s world, where most lawyerly conversations touch on areas for improvement like diversity, design thinking, innovation, artificial intelligence or project management, the amazing thing is that we have no agreed-upon way of assessing how these initiatives actually impact performance.
The heart of the problem is that the law school Langdellian method doesn’t distinguish much between what judges do and what lawyers do, treating both as practicing legal reasoning, and it understands lawyers to be at the center of things, not needing to seek feedback. So while there are lots of good reasons to resist outcomes-oriented metrics for judges, few of those make sense for lawyers. Yet most lawyers want to be assessed on “lawyer-out” criteria:
• Legal reasoning.
• Thoroughness and effort.
• Ethical intent.
As one friend recently joked: “If you judged lawyers the way they judge themselves, then every action by every lawyer who went to an elite law school would be exactly the same level of quality, since they define the quality of their action on the quality of their credentials.”
To understand the implications of getting to a place where you can better measure performance, look at what’s happened in the world of advertising. Ninety percent of all growth in ad spending in the last decade has gone to Google and Facebook, because they can demonstrate the performance of ad spending in a way traditional media never could.
• The multiple—the value investors ascribe to earnings, which is usually an amalgam of growth rate and intangible factors such as reputation, predictability, etc.
So the opportunity is for lawyers to embrace modern methods of measuring performance to show how what we do translates into value for the client.
We think this is so important we’ll call it the Lippe-MLA Legal Performance Model.
Once we shift the lens from lawyer out to client in, it becomes pretty easy to better understand and improve performance.
What do lawyers do to contribute to revenue, now or in the future?
• Put contracts in place that define and manage revenue.
• Help create intellectual property rights that protect market position and improve margins.
• Help acquire assets that are the source of future revenues.
• Manage regulations or enforcement that impact market access.
• Support business relationships that are viewed positively by customers, thereby improving the client's Net Promoter Score.
What do lawyers do to reduce expenses, now or in the future:
• Help prevent problems or rule violations that ultimately get expressed as expenses.
• Reduce direct legal expenses.
• Help other parts of business, such as procurement, be more commercially effective.
• Avoid creating friction or unnecessary problems that impede efforts at transformation or other strategic changes.
• Avoid litigation, correctly predict the outcome of litigation, or manage litigation to a better outcome.
What do lawyers do to improve the balance sheet?
• The balance sheet is the reflection of historical financial performance. By definition, matters of risk—such as the potential risk that a customer won’t pay, or that a derivative will go into default—should be priced into the balance sheet. If risks are priced properly, then everyone in the organization will be on the same page in terms of understanding and taking appropriate risks.
• The balance sheet should be the place for truth-telling, so legal should help create a culture where problems are recognized and addressed, not suppressed to metastasize into bigger problems.
What do lawyers do to improve the multiple?
The value investors ascribe to future earnings is an amalgam of their assessment of corporate competence and market opportunity. While there’s not a ton that lawyers can do about market opportunity, all the higher order things lawyers hope to do—improve reputation, be seen as ethical, avoid one-time losses or enforcement problems, improve governance and compliance, anticipate and manage cyber risk—should be reflected in the multiple.
When we see companies like Volkswagen, Wells Fargo or Uber struggle with huge performance, ethical and reputational issues, those problems get expressed as a reduction in their multiple, and it usually takes several years of consistent performance to get past those problems. Often, lawyers’ response to reputational problems is to add tons of proceduralism, but there is scant evidence that such proceduralism actually reduces investor uncertainty.
Once we start to measure performance more rigorously, we see what we can do better, and we see how some of the things we’re already doing matter more or less than we think.
• Diversity can help improve the multiple because it enhances corporate reputation and avoids reputational problems, and it should improve revenue by enhancing market access.
• Innovation helps reduce friction and find new market opportunities.
• Ethical reputation and consistency of earnings will improve the multiple.
• Design Thinking can get rid of superfluous friction that makes clients think we’re still living in a Dickens novel.
Given the need to realign lawyers to the way clients measure performance, we can probably suggest five laws for legal metrics:
1. LegaI metrics must be outcomes-based, aligned with institutional metrics.
2. LegaI metrics must be process-specific, i.e., sales-related metrics should be completely different from litigation-related metrics.
3. It’s better to imperfectly measure important things than perfectly measure unimportant things.
4. Metrics work much better when considered in conjunction with possible innovations like design thinking.
5. Lawyers who say they’re not good at metrics are just being lazy—they are more than capable of measuring those things they care about.
Like most professions, law makes aggressive claims for its distinctness from the world in which it operates. But perhaps the path forward is more about embracing the metrics culture of the broader world.Paul Lippe, the former CEO of Legal OnRamp, is a member of Elevate Services’ Advisory Board. Gregory Richter is vice president and global head of Major, Lindsey & Africa’s In-House Practice Group and Solutions Practice Group. Paul Williams is a Major, Lindsey & Africa partner and a member of the CEO & Board Practice of Allegis Partners, MLA’s sister organization focused on executive search.
This New York Times article is worth a read. It covers a study in NY where judges were asked to track the gender of those speaking in court over a four month period. The results show that in some sectors of the legal profession, women have not increased their presence in the courtroom in decades. In other sectors, there is more gender equity. The article explores some of the reasons why those differences might be occurring.
In many of my subscribed-to blogs, journals, LinkedIn, and other social media sites, Leadership seems to be everywhere. Authors and bloggers are discussing such basics as what it means, to more nuanced ideas such as should we be seeking to be leaders rather than just managers of our organizations? And, it seems this is not such a new conversation. I dug in the archives of the Law Practice Management magazine published by the Law Practice Division of the ABA to find an entire edition focused on leadership. I am sharing the link to this important and interesting topic with you so you, too, can share in the conversation:
No More Ransomware: How One Website is Stopping the Crypto-Locking Crooks in Their Tracks
It is about time the good guys caught up to the bad ones - or they are working on it. The site described in this article collects ransomware decryption tools and then allows the user to upload an encrypted file which it will then diagnose. Yes, that is correct, it offers the appropriate diagnosis as to which ransonware encrypted it and offers a tool to decrypt it, if one exists and/or is available. This site could be extremely helpful to someone caught in in a ransomware attack or for someone who wants to become more savvy and educated about cybersecurity.
Really, that should be all of us because if it hasn't affected us yet, it likely will.
To read the full article, cut and paste the below link into your browser:
Security Awareness Tip: Multi-Factor and Two-Step Authentication
Want to better protect your information? Below are two types of authentication that can help safeguard your data and identity.
Multi-factor authentication is an approach to authentication which requires the presentation of two or more forms or “factors”: a knowledge factor (something you know), a possession factor (something you have), an inherence factor (something you are) and a geo-location factor (someplace you are).
Using your PIN (“something you know”) while making a purchase with your debit card (“something you “have”) is an example of multi-factor authentication.
Two-step verification, another useful authentication method, sends a verification code to a user’s phone after the user enters his or her username and password; this code must be entered to gain access to the account. Several websites, web applications and e-mail service providers offer this option. If offered as an optional feature, it is worth it to enable it for better security.
Did you see the feature in the New York Times this weekend, The Lawyer, the Addict? It's been the theme of many of my listservs since it popped into peoples' newsfeeds. The article is a compelling read, made so in large part by the writer's viewpoint from outside of the profession.
Those of us in the profession have repeatedly heard the statistics on lawyer depression, addiction and suicide. In every one of those areas our profession ranks worse than most all others. Some of us have lost a colleague to depression and suicide. Lawyers have offices where we ask people to bring in their stress, their problems, difficult situations, threats they are concerned about and other such matters.
But I think this story of Peter, dying from the impact of his drug addiction while still maintaining appearances as a partner in a high-powered law firm, breaks some of our assumptions about what addicted lawyer behavior looks like. His last call from his death bed was to call in to a scheduled conference call.
I have no great wisdom to share on this critical topic today. But it bears repeating to say, if you are in trouble, reach out for help. Many bar associations provide crisis counseling to members now. In Kansas, the Kansas Lawyer Assistance Program (KALAP) provides assistance to attorneys in the state. To reach a confidential person through KALAP, call the hotline at 800-342-9080 or 785-368-8275 during office hours. To learn more about KALAP, visit the website kalap.com. There are other community resources for many situations. Ask for help if you need it.
Thank you to Jim Calloway, Practice Management Attorney at the Oklahoma Bar Association for publishing a portion of this post.
Stress is part of life. You can’t get around it. If you did manage to get around it, you would likely be dead.
You actually need stress to live.
Without stress, you would not get up in the morning, get to work on time, put food on the table, or shift positions when you are uncomfortable.
Stress is your body’s way of letting you know you are out of balance. Feeling hunger—that’s a stress. Feeling cold — another stress. Worried about paying your bills— stress again.
If the weather outside gets colder, the blood vessels in your body will constrict to help your body’s temperature accommodate. If this isn’t enough to maintain your body’s temperature, you will feel cold. All stress. That cold feeling will then motivate you to put on something warm. Presto, you have now adapted to the change in weather.
That’s pretty much how it works. You feel stress. A stress response is activated in your body that triggers physiological changes that motivate you to seek relief.
The problem isn’t so much stress, but the inability to get relief from stress, like being hungry and never getting any food, or being cold and not having something warm to wear. Not only is the stress an issue, but so is the stress response, which becomes over-activated, leading to a whole host of pathological problems like increased blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, inflammation, depression, and so forth.
Why is this a problem for you? You, like most people, ignore your stress. For example, when you feel tired, do you sleep or drink coffee? When you are anxious, do you take care of your feelings, or do you numb them with food, alcohol, or work?
The key to resilience is being able to recognize stress warning signals to motivate you to take care of yourself, not let the stress take the care out of you. You have the power to transform your mind and improve the functioning of your body, if you choose to pay attention, or you can let the functioning of your body deteriorate over time. Here are some tips to get started:
Listen to your body’s whispers before they become screams.
You want to learn to quiet your mind and your stress response long enough to become fully aware of why your body is in stress to begin with. This involves being mindful while witnessing and observing, nonjudgmentally, the sensations you experience in your body and how it may be speaking to you. Witnessing has its roots in the Buddhist meditation practice called mindfulness, which involves being in a moment-by-moment awareness of your thoughts, sensations and feelings, as well as of the surrounding environment, and has the added benefit of turning down the stress response, which then improves your mood, ability to cope more effectively.
To do: Pause. Take a deep breath in, counting to four, and let the breath out, counting from four down to zero for five cycles of breath. Allow your thoughts and tension to be released with your breath. As you quiet down, ask your body what it needs. Ask your heart what it wants. Observe any sensations that arise, listen to thoughts, do not judge.
Move your body.
The term “survival of the fittest” means your ancestors had to be fit to survive. Not only did the strongest and fastest person get to the food first, but research also tells us that regular exercise helps your cardiovascular functioning and reduction of stress response activity. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do, as long as you do it. I personally recommend alternating days of vigorous exercise (can’t hold a conversation), with days of moderate exercise (holding a conversation), with active rest days (strolling with the dog).
To do: You feel anxious? See if going for a walk or a light jog helps. Feeling achy? Try stretching. Low energy? Perhaps this is from lack of activity. Begin by moving your body for 10 minutes—taking the stairs, parking your car farther away from the store, or dancing to your favorite tune.
Food is your fuel.
Food is not your enemy, nor is it your savior when you are anxious. Rather, food is fuel, your source of energy, not your source of inflammation. If you were to slow down and eat mindfully, or take the time to listen to how your body reacts to different foods, you might discover that certain foods leave you feeling more achy, tired or irritable, even though in the short-term, they enable you to feel better as your cravings are tempered. Indeed, studies show that sugar intake, particularly in the form of glucose, is likely more of a risk factor for developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease that high salt intake.
To do: Eat mindfully. Enjoy the aromas, the colors and the textures of the food on your plate. Chew. Notice the tastes. Choose food that is grown naturally in your environment. Choose grass-fed foods. If it doesn’t grow in the earth, don’t eat it regularly. How do you feel, not only immediately after eating your food, but the next day? Ask yourself, “If I loved myself and really wanted to be able to function as my best, would this food serve the purpose?” Aim for an 80/20 healthy eating plan (20% of the not-so-good stuff, if you can tolerate it and you still really want it).
Make time for rest and recovery.
We live in a society that encourages us to push ourselves, go faster, work harder, sleep less. Even high-level athletes know that their best performance happens when they take the time to allow their body to rest and recover. Even modest sleep deprivation of one or two hours negatively affects your physiology, especially stress physiology.
To do: As yourself why you might be tired. Are you rested when you wake up in the morning? Examine your food intake. Examine the stimulants you may be taking (caffeine, sugar, etc.). Examine the quality of your sleep—how comfortable is your bed? Do you have physical pain disturbing your sleep? When does your energy lower during the day? When do you lose your focus? Perhaps this is a time to take regular naps or practice a 10 to 20 minute mediation.
About the Author
Elva Selhub is a physician and an internationally recognized resiliency expert. She is the author of several books, including Your Health Destiny. Follow her on Twitter @DrEvaSelhub.